And Disney's "High School Musical" items are also coming on strong, breaking the Top 10 list for girls for the first time, reports the National Retail Federation's 2008 Top Toy survey. But the big news, in a ranking that is usually all about dolls for girl and cars for boys, is that video games are appearing on the girls' list for the first time.
After Barbie and Hannah, in the survey of more than 8,700 adults about their intentions to purchase toys for girls this year, are the all-doll category, followed by Bratz, Nintendo Wii, video games, Elmo, Disney High School Musical, Disney Princess and American Girl, which is also a Mattel brand.
For boys, electronics still take the top spots, with video games coming in a No. 1 and Nintendo Wii at No. 2. Next are Legos, all types of cars, Transformers, Elmo, Star Wars, Hot Wheels, remote-controlled vehicles and Xbox 360.
NRF executives say that the good news for parents is that "many retailers are featuring toys as loss leaders this year, heavily discounting and promoting these items to bring shoppers into stores." Kohl's is pushing a 50%-off toy sale, for example, and both Sears and its Kmart division are advertising 60%-off sales. Even Macy's is pushing bargains: Its talking plush Horton the Elephant toy, based on its new star balloon, is only $14.95, including a mini-copy of the Seuss classic, Horton Hears a Who.
Toy stores appear to be cutting prices earlier to woo parents, too. KB Toys, for instance, is trumpeting a 60% off Thanksgiving sale, and Toys R Us is touting free shipping on its Elmo Live, which it named as one of the year's hottest toys.